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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Miami-Dade Police Officer Manuel Gonzalez, a husband and father of two, walked out of the hospital Saturday, days after a deadly firefight with a shoplifter at Walmart.
“I was shot multiple times throughout my leg, on my buttocks, on my hip and my back,” he told the media upon his release, expected to make a full recovery. “Overwhelming. I feel great, I’m walking, I’m happy to be here, I’m happy to be alive.”
On Wednesday, despite being wounded, Ofc. Gonzalez managed to shoot and kill suspect David Facen, 54, during an alleged robbery attempt. Gonzalez was in uniform, working an off-duty job in security, when he was alerted to the incident and confronted Facen, according to authorities.
Officer Gonzalez’s wife, Sherry, a teacher, didn’t believe the news.
“I thought it was a joke, my heart immediately sank and I got very emotional and I just I try to pull myself together in my closet because I had to figure out a way to get out of my class without traumatizing my students,” she said.
What she didn’t know at the time is that Ofc. Kevin Diaz, one of the first officers to respond to the scene, had placed her husband in his car and drove him to the hospital.
As Gonzalez walked out of the hospital on Saturday, he got a chance to thank his colleague in front of the cameras.
“I love you, man. You came to my rescue, you’re my guardian angel, I appreciate everything you’ve done for me,” said a grateful Gonzalez.
“I love you, too, bro, I’m just happy you’re okay,” Diaz responded. “He’s my brother in blue. We’re family.”